Allah سبحانه وتعالى says in the Holy Qur’an:
إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ
Except one who comes to Allah with a sound heart
[Surah al Shuaraa 26:89]
The goal of tazkiya is to return to one’s beginning i.e. as a new-born child, pure and innocent, free from malice, self-conceit and pride. The dunya, however, makes a person’s heart hard and ‘rusty’ and the purpose of tazkiya is to polish the heart and return it to its original state.
The first stage of tazkiya, however, is complete obedience to the laws of the shariah. One can never attain the lofty stages of a clean heart and ihsan without knowledge of the apparent laws. It is imperative therefore for one who treads the path of tazkiya, to learn the masaa’il (rulings) of fiqh (Islamic law) in order to perform his deeds properly and thus progress. One cannot dispense with the shariah when it comes to tazkiya – both go hand-in-hand.
[This short excerpt is based on a brothers’ majlis (gathering for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on 20th November 1999 and 24th November 1999]